Monday, September 5, 2011


As summers go, this has been a hectic one. I had planned to build the base for the new layout over a couple of days in July – no such luck. I’m starting to get back in the groove and make some progress since I’d like to have something decent ready by the Christmas season. The new layout’s design isn’t completely random :-) and I thought I’d list some factors that are going into it.

When I finally received my copy of the Con-Car TTC Air Electric PCC streetcar from George’s in the spring I realized it would be good to have a continuous loop on the layout for just letting it run. This kicked off a long think about my layout, and in the process I decided it needed to be scraped and a new one built that better reflected my interests. Some items that might be incorporated (in no particular order):

1. Continuous loop

2. Flat, lots of real estate for buildings

3. Buildings can be swapped in and out and re-arranged and don’t have to be ‘realistically’ arranged.

4. Portable, easy to carry, fits in my econo-box car

5. Easy to take upstairs from the basement for showing off at Christmas and such

6. Beachfront

{I finally picked up a copy of this Eric Clapton classic this summer. I was too young to appreciate it when the lp was first released, but since I've been hearing a lot about it lately, I thought I'd finally buy a copy. It's good. Mr. Clapton's hit I Shot the Sheriff is on this disc. To me it sounds like it's the most polished piece on the album - so polished that the other songs, although good, seem almost a little rough around the edges.}

7. Ocean

8. Streetcar to the beach

9. Offers a little switching, but not overly operational in a classical sense

10. Roadless

11. The smaller, the better, but not too small.

12. Urban idealization

13. Linear

14. Innocuous track

15. Lights and lighting and LEDs

16. Surfboard sized

17. Pedestrian

18. Lightweight

19. No corners

20. Retro-future, modern, re-purposed stuff

21. Eye-level views

22. DCC

23. Landscape view

24. Sydney-by-the-sea

25. Blue, green, sunny, open

26. Percherons

27. People, figures, easy living

{A couple of years ago one of our friends stayed with us one weekend. He was a surfer who, although based in Ontario, had travelled to a few famous surf spots around the world. As a parting gift he gave me a stack of old surfing magazines! They're odd and good at the same time.}

28. Streetcars, small diesels, trolleys, railcars and any other small rolling stock

29. Clean construction

{I've been thumbing through my collection of old Model Railroader magazines. This one is the March 1985 issue. I love the cover photo - uncluttered and straightforward. The article the photo refers to - how to make prairie grass with fake fur - is excellent too. There's a photo on page 65 where the author shows a Boeing LRV model on the WWII (?) era layout and the editors give it something of a thumbs down for being unprototypical. But it still looks good and I think that is an important key.}

As I mentioned at the top, the biggest problem with my current layout is that it doesn’t have a continuous loop anywhere for just letting things run. After I had ran a few switching problems I was bored, but didn’t want to admit it. But that was probably because I was busy doing what I liked to do: build buildings. Scenes too. I had a lot of fun building the Bookery, and that experience also factored into the new layout. I wanted a display space that could be taken wherever I wanted and not confined to the basement. There’s probably many Bookerys in my future and I wanted some place where it was easy to show them off.

I'm finally back working in the base and hopefully will have some pictures posted soon.

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